Teacher struck off for sending lewd photo to pupil

A TEACHER has been struck off after he sent a photograph of his privates to a teenage girl.

Docherty was teaching at Linlithgow Academy at the time. Picture: JP
Docherty was teaching at Linlithgow Academy at the time. Picture: JP

Chemistry teacher Thomas John Docherty received a picture of his sixth year student in return, a hearing was told.

After he was suspended in January 2013, the 29-year-old arranged to meet the girl outside school, taking her for a drive and kissing her.

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Mr Docherty, who worked at Linlithgow Academy in West Lothian, also told the girl that he loved his partner - an art teacher at the same school.

At a hearing of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) in Edinburgh on Thursday, Mr Docherty was told that he was unfit to teach and banned from the classroom.

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The girl at the centre of the case was referred to as Pupil A and gave evidence in private.

The hearing was told Pupil A had shown messages to an ex-pupil at the school.

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Linda Forrest, the deputy head at Linlithgow Academy, said in a statement: “A photo of Mr Docherty’s genitals had been sent to Pupil A and A had shown a photo of herself to Mr Docherty.”

She added: “I didn’t know what to think. One text went into significant detail.

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“It was sexually graphic - very well written - but highly inappropriate.”

Mr Docherty was suspended on January 21.

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Miss Forrest said in her statement that at a meeting that day “Mr Docherty looked shocked and was quiet and said this was unbelievable”.

“I advised him to take his belongings and not contact pupils.”

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Despite the warning, Miss Forrest said the suspended teacher arranged a meeting with the girl.

“On March 8 she met with Mr Docherty and went for a drive. He told her he loved his partner and then kissed her and said they could be together when things blew over.”

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Mr Docherty faced eight charges before the GTCS, all of which were found proved.

They included engaging in “inappropriate communications” with a pupil and sending “sexual remarks” and “pictures... in a state of undress” to the pupil.

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He was accused of arranging to meet the pupil outside school and breaching his suspension by contacting her on three occasion and asking her to “delete all Facebook messages and text messages”.

Case presenter Gillian Sim said Pupil A gave evidence in a clear, straightforward manner, adding: “Her evidence had a level of detail that would be hard to make up.”

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Mr Docherty did not attend the hearing and was not represented. The hearing was told he had issued an earlier “blanket denial” of the charges.

The panel found all parts of the complaint against him proven.

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The chairman of the panel, John Fitzpatrick, said: “As a consequence of the findings in this case the panel has found the respondent unfit to teach.

“The respondent must be removed from GTCS teaching register.”

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Mr Docherty’s Facebook page remained open to the public even after he was suspended.

His posts included a popular picture of the Star War’s character Yoda with the words: “Stupid you are. Breed you should not.”

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